CANADIENS (30-21-6) vs. CANUCKS (27-22-9)
On Thursday night, the Canadiens will take on John Tortorella and his Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre.
The Habs are coming off a 2-0 win over the visiting Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Carey Price kicked aside 27 shots for his 23rd career shutout, while Rene Bourque snapped a two month goal-less drought at the Bell Centre by scoring the game winner. David Desharnais added a late empty-netter.
Against the Flames, Ryan White and newcomer Dale Weise combined for nine shots on goal. White had missed the last 14 games due to injury, while Weise arrived in Montreal on Monday after being dealt by the Canucks in exchange of Raphael Diaz.
On Tuesday, Vancouver visited Boston and dropped a 3-1 decision to the Bruins. For his part, Diaz had a strong first game for his new team in a losing cause, scoring his team’s only goal and logging a team-leading 25:26 in ice time. Roberto Luongo made 29 saves on 32 shots to take his 14th loss of the season.
After only losing once in regulation time the whole month of December (10-1-2), the Canucks are in freefall. Since the start of 2014, Vancouver has only won twice in regulation. In the past seven games, the team is 1-6 and has scored two goals or less on five occasions, frequently drawing the ire of their temperamental head coach. Much of the team’s struggles can be attributed to the poor form of the Sedin twins, who have combined for a lone assist in the Canucks’ past ten games.
In addition, the Canucks’ infirmary is currently near maximum capacity. Defensemen Chris Tanev, Kevin Bieksa and Yannick Weber are currently on injured reserve, while Dan Hamhuis, Chris Higgins and Brad Richardson all sat out against the Bruins on Tuesday.
Montreal’s Travis Moen is day-to-day with a lower body injury. He will not play on Thursday night.
Thursday’s game will be the second of two season match-ups between the two teams. On Oct. 12, 2013, the Canadiens beat the Canucks at home by a score of 4-1 thanks to a shorthanded goal by Lars Eller. The last time Vancouver visited the Bell Centre, the away team came out on top, winning a 4-3 shootout game in Dec. 2011.
Puck drop will be at 7:30 PM E.S.T.